By Lem Satterfield
Tony Harrison watched from his home in Detroit, Michigan on Saturday night as IBF/IBO/WBA 154-pound champion Jarrett Hurd stopped of Jason Welborn in the fourth round at The Staples Center in Los Angeles before WBC counterpart Jermell Charlo entered the ring and disrupted “Swift’s” post-fight interview by challenging him to a Spring unification bout.
Hurd (23-0,16 KOs), in turn, vows to be ringside on December 22 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, where Jermell Charlo (31-0, 15 KOs) pursues his fourth defense and fifth knockout in six fights against Harrison (27-2, 21 KOs), and Charlo’s older-by-a-minute twin sibling, Jermall (27-0, 21 KOs), his initial defense and fourth straight stoppage against left-handed two-time title challenger Willie Monroe (23-3, 6 KOs).
“If I had gone to Hurd's fight it would have been a fiasco because I would have jumped into the ring with Hurd and Charlo, also. I would have stopped Charlo and said, ‘Look, homie, you’ve got something else to worry about,’” said Harrison, whom Hurd vanquished by title-winning ninth-round TKO in February 2017.
“But I watched it at the house and I was training for Charlo the very next day. I’m going to throw the biggest monkey wrench in the world into their plans. It’s another source of motivation, but I really didn’t need any more motivation than I already have. Other than that, everything is covered on my end, so I don’t even think too much about it.”
Harrison will be the second common opponent Charlo shares with Hurd, who defeated left-handed former title Austin Trout in his very next fight, winning by 10th-round stoppage in October 2017.
Trout rebounded from the loss to Hurd with a unanimous decision over Juan De Angel in February before falling to Jermell Charlo by two-knockdown majority decision in June. Trout’s also lost to Jermall Charlo by unanimous decision in May 2016, with his next fight after that being against Hurd.
Jermell Charlo entered the ring after Hurd had stopped Welborn and intervened during Hurd interview with Showtime’s Jim Gray.
“I like those belts – they look real good on you,” said Charlo, who, like Harrison and Hurd, is 28. “This is easy money. He said he wants another fight. I’m ready now.”
Hurd, of Accokeek, Maryland, also addressed Charlo.
“We definitely want Charlo,” said Hurd. “I’m calling the shots. I’m No. 1. right now. When I say answer the phone, answer the phone. I got the date.”
But Harrison has won three straight since losing to Hurd comprised of a unanimous decision over Paul Valenzuela Jr. in October 2017, a fifth-round TKO over George Sosa in February 2018, and a 10-round split-decision victory over former champion Ishe Smith in May.
Fighting in hostile territory at the Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Las Vegas, the 6-foot-1 Harrison repeatedly hammered right hands against Smith’s badly swollen left eye, dropping the Las Vegas-born, 39-year-old in the third round.
“I actually spoke to Hurd before his fight with Welborn,” said Harrison, whose ring nickname, “Superbad,” came from legendary Emanuel Steward, his lead corner man in four of his first 11 bouts before his death at the age of 68 on Oct. 25, 2012.
“I told Jarrett to ‘look good, do your thing and that, for sure, he get ready for our rematch. I told him that I’m looking forward to it and that 'I’ll see you soon.’”
Welborn represented Hurd’s first fight since undergoing left shoulder torn rotator cuff surgery five months ago. In his previous fight in April, Hurd's split-decision over Cuban southpaw Erislandy Lara was secured by a final-round knockdown off a short left hook to add Lara’s WBA crown to his IBF version.
Hurd had stopped his previous seven opponents prior to Lara including Harrison, who went 3-0 with two knockouts after a ninth-round TKO loss to Willie Nelson (July 2015) ended his run of 10 consecutive stoppages victories.
Harrison’s Superbad Fitness boxing gym is located on Puritan Street on Detroit’s west side, serving as a refuge for inner-city youth from the crime, violence, gangs and drugs which has cost many friends their freedom, if not their lives.
Harrison, alongside his father, former pro boxer Ali Salaam, train and mentor neighborhood youth ages 4-and-up in the disciplines of boxing at the gym.
Activities include tutoring in math and reading conducted by Jasmine Bradley, Harrison’s girlfriend, a University of Michigan graduate, an aspiring doctor and the mother of his 2-year-old son, Tony Jr., and 4-month old daughter, Jaia.
The second-youngest of eight children, Harrison’s grandfather, Henry Hank, fought professionally for two decades and was a top-10 contender at 160 and 175 pounds in the early 1960s. Steered toward boxing by his mother to quell suspensions from school, Harrison eventually met Steward, who used Detroit’s famed Kronk Gym to mold champion boxers such as Thomas Hearns.
On Saturday at 10 a.m., Harrison's Superbad facility will host at a toy and grocery giveaway to benefit the underserved community.
"Every holiday, we get together and remember where we came from and the neighborhood that we ran around in. My aunt has done this for probably the last 15 years, and I finally hooked up with her," said Harrison.
"The neighborhood is one with plenty of at-risk youth, and we're giving away food, toys for the kids and everything is going to be free until it runs out."